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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-10-2007, 01:33 PM   #1
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How risky is it to buy an older bimmer on ebay?

I am considering doing this, but I'm wondering if the saved $$$ is worth the risk of getting into a major problem with a bum car.
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Old 04-10-2007, 03:39 PM   #2
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id buy one that maybe u can see the actual condition and drive one. with a good past history
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:30 PM   #3
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So that's my question. Do people actually buy cars on-line (ebay, BMWCCA, E46Fanatics, whatever) without traveling to test drive and get a mechanic to look at it? THAT would be a very risky thing to do, even it is a BMWCCA seller I would think.

If you do the traveling out to see the car and if you don't want to take the time to drive it home, shipping + plane fare could be $1000 over the cost of the car.

Yet it seems the MO for buying on ebay is sight unseen for the most part, no?
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Old 04-10-2007, 07:29 PM   #4
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it's pretty risky buying any bmw, old or new, imo lol....especially considering your currently driving a honda.....((runs))
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:15 PM   #5
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You just need to be very careful and diligent. Lots of Ebay sellers post info about third party auto inspectors. You can also Google for that info. If it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

I've bought one car off Ebay. It turned out fine.

wanna post the link to the one you're looking at? or pm? I look at bimmers on Ebay all the time.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:38 PM   #6
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Bought a '89 325ix off of ebay. Was able to take a look at it before hand and although it looked pretty good, when I started to get into I started dropping a ton of cash.

Also just bought a E46 through a phone deal in NY (I'm in NH) got there, drove it once, drove it home, did coils and intake, and now there is something wrong with the Waterpump or something else on the pulley system. Luckily it is a CPO and under full warranty.

IMHO I would gladly pay BMW for a CPO with FULL MAINTENANCE. The EXTRA cash is well worth it.

But if you are planning on modding the car to the extreme save the money on ebay and drop the extra cash into coil overs and the like...
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:58 PM   #7
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If i was a billionaire, i would buy my cars on ebay. Just sit in my chair and click Buy It Now constantly LOL.
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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My family and i have purchased 6 cars off ebay and havnt had a problem yet...

1994 Porsche 968
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:08 PM   #9
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I've bought 2 bmw's site unseen. Both were ok deals. I enjoy wrenching and tuning up my cars. I've put $800 into my touring that I won from an ebay wholesaler on a no reserve auction. However it was a single owner and has ever single dealer stamp in the book. I do run carfax though and wont buy anything that has more than 2 owners. If you want a car to keep for 10 years take your time and buy from a private owner with records. If you tend to buy/sell cars and like wrenching then go for it.
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:27 PM   #10
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I've had two experiences buying older BMW's on ebay:

- the first purchase, a 1988 528e, was flawless. Seller picked me up at the airport, and the car was even more pristine than he advertised it as. Car has been a dream every day since.

- the second purchase, a 1990 325i, was a disaster. Car was nothing like the seller advertised, and even though I talked him down 25% from the previously agreed upon price, I seriously feared for my safety while haggling with him. Although all M20 e30's are a blast, the car was a constant nightmare before finally having its life ended in an unfortunate accident. As a good friend said after the car was totaled "good riddance".

Get tons of high quality pictures, talk to them on the phone to get a sense of character (not flawless), do a Carfax to look for an odd history (too many owners, auction sales, etc), and always be prepared to get right back on the plane and head home if you get the sense you're getting screwed. This is what I should have done with the e30...

Honestly, there's nothing more fun than driving an old BMW you just purchased cross-country back home.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:16 PM   #11
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It really is a gamble, I went first to see the car and get a feel of the owner and how he looked after it,
I made a bid twice, with 2 seconds to go, That's ebay at it's sweetest.......

The one person owner i brought from, i guess just wanted a higher than trade in price with the cosmetic flaw.
Check the owners manual for maintance stamps and look under the hood for any leaks. That's all i did.

So far 12k additional miles changed wipers/one hose/one bulb/air filter/wheels/tires/rotors/brakes

The above i would call all maintance items for 100k+ car, when i took a audit of the previous jobs done on the car based on the receipts in the glove compartment.

He left it under a tree for a while causeing tree sap to eat into the paint so i also resprayed the hood. i was more concerned about the engine and the maintance, cosmetics ment my first BMW would be that bit cheaper.
Good Luck

Last edited by bmwchappy; 04-10-2007 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 04-11-2007, 01:35 PM   #12
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I like the way you think kaluahjeff
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Old 04-11-2007, 02:25 PM   #13
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buying anything without seeing it is "risky." It depends whether or not a substitute (similar) vehicle is available locally, and if the difference in price is worth your peace-of-mind.

Go to the regional forums and see if somebody local to the seller will look at the car for you.
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